Lynne Chitty

Interview with Lynne Chitty

 

Age 53
 

British - Living in Devon,

 

ENGLAND

Hi Lynne, thanks for taking time out to answer a few questions. First question: Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Kent. I loved the sea in Herne Bay but didn't cope well with a move to Gloucester when I was thirteen. I never settled, or made friends, and that really made my teenage years desperate. But now I live in a cabin in the grounds of a retreat house in Devon with my cat, guinea pig, two cockerels and a runner duck!

 

Were there things growing up that still influences your writing now?
Definitely the sea, it still feeds my soul and the sense of loneliness when we moved still features in lots of my work. Writing about feelings of belonging or about depression comes in, almost without me consciously thinking about it. Whenever I spend time by the sea I write - it just opens me up.

 

Can you remember writing down your early structured words at school?
I read more than I wrote, although I do remember beiing about fourteen and wanting to write a biography of Anthony Hopkins. I did loads of research but that was that!

Did you have a love of words back then?

As mentioned, I have always loved reading and, being quite shy and not having much confidence, books gave me another world. I loved words and always wanted to be a writer, but just didn't make it happen; I got very ill in my twenties and after my mum died, suffered from depression and an eating disorder, so in many ways I feel I lost fifteen years of my life.

 

Did you go to University?
I wasn't well enough; I dropped out of school really.

 

Is writing your full-time job?
Sadly no, I am an ordained Decaon in the Anglican church – unpaid. I work at a retreat centre rather than in a parish.

 

Tell me about your very first writing engagement.
After my mum died, a member of the clergy at Gloucester cathedral tried to help me but I couldn't really talk about things. So he gave me a notebook and pen and said try writing. I did, and once all the dark painful stuff had come out - with his encouragement - I started writing poetry and prayers. My first paid job was for Rootsontheweb who publish resources for people who lead worship.

Tell me about the other projects you are currently working on.
I have two paid projects on the go – more prayers for Roots and a commission to write for Quiet Spaces. When I was ordained, I wrote a lot of prayers and reflections, and this is a continuation of that ministry. Also, I have just completed my first novella set on the Isle of Skye  which I will be published in July. It is the first piece of longish fiction that I have ever written and I loved writing it.

 

What really inspires your?
I love the sea, and I find myself writing a lot about people who are vulnerable. I also love to write songs for animal welfare charities close to my heart. I write most when I am moved.

 

What is the process of transforming that initial moment of inspiration, or idea, into actual words on paper?
I spend a lot of time looking out of my cabin window watching the birds and that seems to allow the words to form; almost while I'm not concentratinbg on them. I probably do a days mulling for every two hours actual writing though!

 

Do you have a particular writing location?
My cabin in set in the Devon countryside and I feel very close to nature there. All the seasons affect the warmth and coldness of my surroundings, and that really makes me feel part of my environment.

What are your plans for the future?
I hope to write another longer novel and eventually put together a collection of my poems.

 

Name your THREE most favourite books and why.
Wind in the Willows - the emerging friendship between Mole and Ratty is one of the most wonderful in all fiction.
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy - the haunting tragedy of it never fails to move me.
In the Springtime of the Year by Susan Hill – is the best novel about grief I have ever read.

 

Lastly... what does writing MEAN to you?

Writing means life. Words give me the ability to be whoever I would like to be in my characters. They allow me to express  joy and pain, to dream, laugh, cry, play. Other people's words enable me to travel the world. They can move, inspire and make me yearn to be the best person I can be. I facilitate a little monthly creative witing group and seeing people growing in confidence and finding their voice through writing is a great joy. Writing has given me a second chance at life. I nearly didn't come through my bad spell and although it is a terrible cliché – every day is a bonus and am opportuinity. My mantra when I reached 50 was – you are never too old to be awesome... the best is yet to be.

Thanks so much Lynne, and thank you for your wonderful contribution to WAR. Don't stop writing!

 

For a little bit more info on Lynne, and to contact her, CLICK HERE.

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